Numerous bills have been introduced in the 2019 legislative session that are aimed obstructing state cooperation with federal immigration enforcement efforts, or granting special privileges to those unlawfully in the state.
What is Washington doing about illegal immigration? The Washington Legislature is passing laws that make no distinction between legal immigrants and those willfully breaking federal immigration law.
Washington among 12 states granting drivers’ licenses to illegal aliens – In 2018, Gov. Inslee ordered the state Department of Licensing not to share information with federal immigration agents, and a new agency rule no longer requires drivers to list their place of birth.
Washington relaxed citizenship requirements for voter registration in 2018, allowing non-citizen 16 and 17-year-olds to “pre-register” without facing felony penalties.
Gov. Jay Inslee issued an executive order in 2017 forbidding state-agency cooperation with federal immigration authorities, except where required by law.
Bills that are advancing
- Prohibiting local law enforcement agencies from cooperating with federal immigration authorities — SB 5497/ HB 1815 – prevents sharing of info, blocks jailhouse interviews by federal agents. Passed Senate.
- Creating a new “protected class” under state law for illegal aliens — SB 5165 – expands Washington anti-discrimination law; affects employment decisions, lending and rentals. Passed Senate.
- Creating a family planning program for illegal aliens — SB 5602 – Directs the Department of Health to create a program identical to offerings for citizens, resident aliens. Passed Senate.
- Expanding College Bound Scholarship program — HB 1311 – Allows students to enroll in 9th and 10th grade, uses definition of “resident student” that encompasses illegal status. Passed House.
- Expanding College Promise Scholarship program — SB 5393/HB 1340 – Makes program an entitlement for all eligible students, uses definition of “resident student” that encompasses illegal status. Passed Senate.
- Expanding eligibility for “family sentencing alternative” programs that allow convicted felons to stay out of prison to care for their children — SB 5291 — would include illegal aliens and others who are subject to deportation. Passed Senate.